Fuel rationing plan is ready, savings targets exceeded
Luxembourg may still force through fuel rationing to cope with the global energy crisis, government minister Claude Turmes said on Wednesday, although a campaign to voluntarily use less gas had been a success.
The country burnt up 37% less gas in August compared to a reference period, and 26% in September, Turmes said, well ahead of a 15% target. "I am sleeping way more soundly now than in March," he said.
European Union countries in July reached a political agreement to cut their gas use by 15% through next winter as the prospect of a full cut-off from Russian supplies grows increasingly likely because of the war in Ukraine.
"We have to take into consideration that any day now, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin can decide to close everything down," Turmes said.
The government has laid out three scenarios, the first of which is already applying through the voluntary reductions. In a worst-case scenario, the government will force through a 15% cut for consumers and industries, except "protected clients" such as schools, hospitals and retirement homes.
There will be other measures for pools and saunas, while industrial companies may need to switch to heating oil. "Now is the time to do everything possible to save gas, as the coming months are when buildings consume the most," Turmes said.
Luxembourg benefited from having a common energy market with Belgium, Turmes said, a country that had secured other suppliers than just Russia.
"We are lucky to be a part of the Belgian gas market, which is one of the European countries that is better off," Turmes said.
The government had also set up an exchange system with the Fedil business organisation, under which companies saving more than 15% of their usual consumption could exchange it with others who consume more.